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<p>Paul Verhoeven must be itching for a fight, because there's no other way to explain his ongoing urge to make a movie about Jesus, which Roger Avary has been hired to write.</p>

Paul Verhoeven must be itching for a fight, because there's no other way to explain his ongoing urge to make a movie about Jesus, which Roger Avary has been hired to write.

Credit: AP Photo/Allessandro della Valle

Roger Avary set to write 'Jesus' for controversial director Paul Verhoeven

If any film could set the world on fire, this could be the one to do it

Paul Verhoeven is determined to make a film about Jesus Christ.

In related news, Paul Verhoeven is determined to get himself shot by someone who can't handle any discussion of Jesus as anything less than the literal Son Of God.

While I love "Robocop" dearly, I am convinced that Paul Verhoeven ruined his career by making that film.  Before that, he was an interesting, provocative European director whose sensibilities were resolutely art-house.  Anyone who has ever spoken to Verhoeven can testify to his keen intellect and his almost innate desire to push buttons.  I think that's the way he attacks any subject.  He loves to ask questions because he is fascinated by human behavior, particularly at the polar extremes of good and bad.

His Hollywood career has seemed like one long misuse of his talents, and it's been painful watching him try to turn garbage like "Basic Instinct" or "The Hollow Man" into something worth his time and his skill.  At least with "Black Book," it seemed like he was working on material with some weight to it again.  It was a huge step in the right direction.

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<p>The cast of ABC Family's &quot;Baby Daddy&quot;</p>

The cast of ABC Family's "Baby Daddy"

Credit: ABC Family

TV Review: ABC Family's 'Baby Daddy' births few laughs

It's 'Raising Hope,' minus the things that make 'Raising Hope' good
If the late English actor Edmund Kean had worked as a 21st Century programming executive, his last words may well have been, "Dying is easy... Developing comedies for young women is hard."
 
Oh, it's easy enough to do comedies for teen and tween female viewers. Disney Channel has been doing it with wild amounts of success for years, launching the careers of starlets like Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez. 
 
But what happens when those viewers get a little older? Do they stop wanting to laugh? 
 
That might be a logical supposition if you look at the comedy slates of the two networks that target women 18-34.
 
The CW has surrendered entirely on comedy. When The WB (which also had comedy issues) merged with UPN, a slew of sitcoms stuck around as part of the latter network's commitment to African-American viewers. As soon as The CW's demographic focus shifted, those comedies were pushed out the door. You think The CW might want those 7-ish million viewers who watch "The Game" now on BET? Sure, but that was never going to happen on The CW. It's been years since The CW last aired a half-hour comedy series.
 
ABC Family, in contrast, keeps trying and trying and trying to do comedy, without any real success. "Melissa & Joey" does reasonably well allegedly, but calling it "generic" would be almost unsustainable hyperbole. "10 Things I Hate About You" was on-brand and well-received by some critics, but it was cancelled after a season. "State of Georgia" had a solid pedigree with Jennifer Weiner creating and Raven-Symone starring, but it also barely rose to the level of mediocre and was cancelled after a season. 
 
It's notable that ABC Family can't do comedy, because the network does drama reasonably well by several standards. It has populist successes like "Secret Life of the American Teenager," young-skewing social media "buzz" hits like "Pretty Little Liars" and with "Switched at Birth" and "Bunheads," it even has a few shows that critics say nice things about.
 
But comedy.
 
Oy.
 
So difficult. 
 
ABC Family's latest comedic whimper is "Baby Daddy," which premieres at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday (June 20) night and will be forgotten by 9:15. And maybe ABC Family views that as progress, because the pilot for "State of Georgia" was bad enough that it took well over 15 minutes to forget. 
 
"Baby Daddy" has no real point of view, no real comedic voice and one very cute infant. Somebody at ABC Family probably, in fact, views that as a net gain.
 
A few more thoughts, somewhat more specific than "Meh-minus," after the break...
 
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<p>Usher and Rick Ross in &quot;Touch 'N You&quot;</p>

Usher and Rick Ross in "Touch 'N You"

Watch: Usher and Rick Ross in a mood in 'Touch 'N You' music video

Careful, ladies: the rapper's good at chess

Rick Ross has love on the mind -- and some mysterious gentlemen -- for the music video to "Touch 'N You," his collaboration with Usher.

The singer and rapper both star in the clip, which also features Rozay's pretty girlfriend who is partial to the high-heels-and-swimsuit look, because such a trend is incredibly practical and easy to pull off sport. It's a very romantic scene, even circa 2:14, when his lady love perceives an inevitable loss at a chess game. (Three of her pieces have been taken by Rozay, and it appears he pulled his queen out early and claimed a pawn and rook in quick succession, though why would he pull the queen back? And no that's not a euphamism, but I digress.)

Near the end, there's a mysterious meeting of men and the girlfriend walking in and looking pissed. I don't understand this, and perhaps it will be more fully explained in the "Touch 'N You" sequel, "Touch 'N Two." Wake me when it's here.

Ross and Usher's "Touch 'N You" -- which I actually really like -- is off of the rapper's forthcoming, long-awaited "God Forgives I Don't," due on July 31.

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<p>Jonah Hill,&nbsp;Vince Vaughn, and Richard Ayoade get comfortable in an early scene from the new science-fiction comedy 'The Watch'</p>

Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn, and Richard Ayoade get comfortable in an early scene from the new science-fiction comedy 'The Watch'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

International trailer for 'The Watch' shows more about Stiller, Vaughn, and Hill

This Indian trailer gives a much clearer picture of who everyone is playing

There's a new trailer for "The Watch" online today, and it appears to have originated from India. 

So far, the domestic campaign for the film has mainly emphasized a certain attitude, setting up Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Richard Ayoade as suburban guys who seem to be taking an unreasonable degree of pleasure from working as part of a neighborhood watch.  In the second trailer, Fox finally revealed the science-fiction elements on the film's premise, but it's still more about attitude than what actually happens.

The international trailer is much more focused in selling the film and the characters.  Ben Stiller is Evan, the guy who is waaaaaaaaaaaaay too involved in community activities, and he's the one who organizes the Neighborhood Watch in the first place.  The other three are all volunteers, and they don't start the film as close friends. 

Vince Vaughn appears to have found a perfect vehicle for his particular brand of motor-mouthed eccentricity as Bob.  Jonah Hill's Franklin is a guy who wanted to join the police department but failed the qualifications in pretty much every way possible.  Ayoade's Jamarcus seems to be hoping that Neighborhood Watch work will lead directly to a letter from Penthouse Forum.  Just knowing that much about the three of them already gives me a better idea of what to expect from the four of them bouncing off of each other.

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<p>The late, great Fatty Arbuckle was part of CBS' fantastic &quot;Dancing on the Stars&quot;&nbsp;press release.</p>

The late, great Fatty Arbuckle was part of CBS' fantastic "Dancing on the Stars" press release.

Outstanding Achievement in Fake Press Releases: CBS announces 'Dancing on the Stars'

The network lost the legal battle over ABC's 'Glass House,' but it won the comedy war

I've been largely ignoring the legal battle between CBS and ABC over the premiere of the latter network's reality show "The Glass House," which the former network insists is a complete rip-off of "Big Brother," and sued to keep it off the air. After all, every successful TV show that's ever existed has been cloned a half dozen times over, and why should we get up in arms over "Big Brother," of all the shows being imitated? 

CBS lost the legal battle, but won the war when "Glass House" tanked in its Monday premiere, and now they've won the battle for the last — and certainly best — word with this press release, a marvel of snark and cattiness. Many press releases are easy to laugh at; this is one of the few I've ever seen that I heartily laughed with: 

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<p>Aaron Johnson and Keira Knightley in &quot;Anna Karenina&quot;</p>

Aaron Johnson and Keira Knightley in "Anna Karenina"

Credit: Focus Features

First trailer for 'Anna Karenina' paints Keira Knightley against a lavish period backdrop

Will Focus Features have a huge Oscar player on its hands?

One of the films we certainly have our eye on in the upcoming film awards season is Joe Wright's adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina," with Keira Knightley in the titular role. If nothing else, we can assume the crafts on display will be lush and exceptional (given the talent involved), and indeed, the first trailer for the film indicates just that.

There is no shortage of lavish period pieces this year, actually. In addition to Wright's film there's Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," Tom Hooper's "Les Misérables," Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" and Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," to say nothing of subtler period accents in films like "Argo" and "The Master."

Guy was a bit down on the film in the fields he was charged with predicting in our recent update, but I beg to differ. I don't think there's anything on the outside that indicates -- yet -- that there's much to worry about. Still, "sure things" are cast away in Oscar season after Oscar season. We'll have to wait and see how this one turns out.

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<p>Carly Rae Jepsen</p>

Carly Rae Jepsen

Credit: AP Photo

Carly Rae Jepsen's 'Call Me Maybe' definitely tops the Billboard Hot 100 again

Pop princess extends her reign to two weeks as Katy Perry flies north

Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” spends its second week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, as the tune, remarkably, continues to pick up steam.

The song grows 8% in all-format audience, according to Billboard, up to 126 million. It only drops 1% in downloads, registering additional sales of 292,000 this week, on top of its already-sold 3.3 million copies. (Listen to Jepsen's new duet with Owl City, "Good Time," here).

Just as “Maybe” hangs out at No. 1, Goyte’s smash, “Somebody That I Used To Know” holds at No. 2 and Maroon 5’s “Payphone,” featuring Wiz Khalifa remains at No. 3.

As Billboard points out, the trifecta of three new artists capturing the No. 1 spot consecutively--as have fun., Gotye, and Jepsen, has not happened since 1977.  One has to go back to 1967 for the last time four new acts followed each other into the Top spot.

No new songs enter the Top 10 as the remaining spots merely rearrange the seats.

Katy Perry sees her hot streak continue as “Wide Awake” soars 9-4.  The song is featured in Perry’s upcoming 3-D doc/concert film, “Part of Me,” which opens July 5.  Perry’s forward momentum pushes Fun.’s  “We Are Young” down one spot to No. 5.

Rounding out the top 10, One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” drops 5-6, Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” falls 6-7, Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” stays at No. 8, Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” featuring Sia slips 7-9 and Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” holds at No. 10.

With Bieber’s “Believe” a cinch to enter the Billboard 200 at No. 1 next week, his pre-release campaign of rolling out an iTunes single a week for several weeks seems to have worked: his track “As Long As you Love Me” featuring Big Sean enters the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 21, making it the third consecutive week that a new Bieber track has entered in the Top 40.

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<p>Bruce Campbell from &quot;Burn Notice.&quot;</p>

Bruce Campbell from "Burn Notice."

Credit: USA

HitFix First Look: Bruce Campbell meets John C. McGinley on 'Burn Notice'

How will Sam Axe and Dr. Cox get along?

I'm not doing weekly coverage of "Burn Noticethis season, but I'm still watching and enjoying the show, and particularly still enjoying the interplay between the actors. With Fi off in prison for now that puts even more of an emphasis on Bruce Campbell and how Sam and Mike (and Sam and Jesse) get along, so what better man to introduce a clip from tomorrow night's episode than Campbell himself? 

Of particular interest to me was the appearance of guest star John C. McGinley, playing Michael's new CIA handler. I haven't seen much of McGinley since "Scrubs" ended — outside of a couple of State Farm commercials that I assume he did to pay the bills — and I'm glad to have the former Dr. Cox back on my TV and interacting with the likes of Campbell and Donovan. 

As usual, "Burn Notice" airs Thursday night at 9 on USA.

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<p>Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen</p>

Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen

Listen: Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen are looking for nothing but a 'Good Time'

Is it too adorable for words?

Carly Rae Jepsen already owned the first part of the summer with “Call Me Maybe.” With “Good Time,” a new track from Owl City featuring Jepsen, she could claim the second half.

The track, which Adam Young (Owl City’s real name) debuted via SoundCloud today, sounds like “California Gurls Pt. 2.” Not only does Jepsen sound like Katy Perry, the song has the same “Whoa-oh-oh” sing-along-chorus.  Just try not to clap or sing along. It’s a shame this didn’t come out a few weeks earlier to totally take advantage of the full summer, but Jepsen’s folks undoubtedly didn’t want it to steal any of “Call Me Maybe’s” thunder...as if anything could.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Halle Berry and Keith David in &quot;Cloud Atlas&quot;</p>

Halle Berry and Keith David in "Cloud Atlas"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. sets October release for 'Cloud Atlas' while Searchlight renames 'The Sessions'

Prime Oscar real estate for both

October 26 is a pretty sweet spot to be opening a film you might want to pitch for awards, and Warner Bros. has just settled on that date for "Cloud Atlas," Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski's 165 minute adaptation of David Mitchell's kaleidoscopic novel, which follows six separate but connected narratives through an array of genres.

Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight had already set Ben Lewin's Sundance hit "Six Sessions" (formerly "The Surrogate") for that date, but they've also gone and re-titled it a third time. The film is now called simply "The Sessions" and is based on the life of poet, journalist and polio victim Mark O'Brien. John Hawkes has been receiving Oscar buzz for his performance as O'Brien (whose story has already been told in one Oscar-winning film, the 1996 short documentary ""Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien"), as has co-star Helen Hunt. HitFix's Drew McWeeny wrote of the film from Sundance that it gives Hawkes his "career-best role."

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<p>Thomas Sadoski, Sam Waterston and Jeff Daniels in &quot;The Newsroom.&quot;</p>

Thomas Sadoski, Sam Waterston and Jeff Daniels in "The Newsroom."

Credit: HBO

Review: Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom' too sanctimonious for its own good

HBO drama at least features strong performances by Jeff Daniels and company
Having seen four different television series created by Aaron Sorkin — "Sports Night," "The West Wing," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," and now "The Newsroom," a new HBO drama that premieres Sunday night at 10 — I feel I understand some of the man's core beliefs and guiding creative principles:
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<p>Doona Bae plays a pivotal role in the upcoming big-screen adaptation of David Mitchell's epic existential novel 'Cloud Atlas'</p>

Doona Bae plays a pivotal role in the upcoming big-screen adaptation of David Mitchell's epic existential novel 'Cloud Atlas'

Credit: Warner Bros.

'Cloud Atlas' gets a date, and now the hard work starts for Warner Bros.

Even with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, this one's not going to be easy

There is never going to be an easy date for Warner Bros. to release "Cloud Atlas."

Some movies are simply challenges, no matter what.  That doesn't make them bad films, and it doesn't make them good films.  It just means they are hard to sell to an audience.  When you have to cut a 30-second commercial that conveys the main idea or appeal of a film, that is a very difficult thing on certain movies.

Warner Bros. digs "Cloud Atlas."  I feel fairly safe in saying so.  They know what movie they've got, and they know what sort of challenge is ahead, and so declaring a release date is step one in setting the table for the eventual release of the film.

It helps when you have Tom Hanks and Halle Berry starring in your movie, especially when you can advertise that each of them ends up playing a variety of different roles in the film.  And when the supporting cast includes Jim Broadbent, also playing multiple parts, Hugo Weaving reteaming with his "Matrix" directors, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant, and younger familiar faces like Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, and James D'Arcy, you've got enough leeway that you can let a relatively unknown actress, internationally speaking, like Doona Bae star in the film in one of the main key roles.

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